Bookmarked: The National Builder

Bookmarked: The National Builder

Gregory Han
Jan 10, 2008

Here's a gem we were bestowed over the holidays: an original 1891 issue of The National Builder, containing a "complete set of architect's plans for a dwelling costing $1,671". The interior is filled with beautifully illustrated advertisements for decor and house hardware, including sash balances, gas lighting fixtures, early hot water heaters and an assortment of other items from a bygone machined era. A few pages and excerpts under the cut...

Bookmarked, an opportunity to revisit some of the triumphs, follies and ideas from decor publications and books from the past. If you've got a great decor photo/image or design idea from an out-of-print source, please send it to la(at)apartmenttherapy(dot)com, including the title and publication information.

There's even a section titled "Department of Interior Decoration & Furniture" with informative advice such as:

A pretty way to make an inexpensive lamp shade is to take pink cheese cloth, wet it thoroughly and then, after it has been doubled several times, twist it thoroughly until it doubles itself up in a knot. Secure it from untwisting and sipe it dry with a towel, and put it away to dry. It will take about ten days to dry it thoroughly, during which time is should not be disturbed. On unrolling the cloth it will be found beautifully creped, and a lamp shade can be made in the same way as tissue paper, by simply cutting a hole for the chimney in the center of the cloth. The top should be arranged with a high ruching and a broad satin ribbon of exactly the same sahde fastenng it. A fringe of soft lace makes a beautiful trimming, and the ruche at the top is also improved by a lace edging.

Lace curtains are seldom used now alone as a window treatment, but are combinedwith some soft-toned light silk, festooned at the top and down the side a little to break the harshness of the plain white color.

A table decorated in good form is a poetic confusion of porcelain figures and flower. At the end and in the center stand rare vases.

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